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Why Lids is Hanging Its Hat on Premium Loyalty [Interview]

Hats off to Lids premium loyalty program. It’s been transforming new customers into brand advocates through its Access Pass premium loyalty program.

Launched in March 2017, the app-based loyalty program has two tiers: Access Pass is free while Access Pass Premium costs $5 per year.

Lids Sports Group, which operates within Hat World, Inc., comprises the Lids retail headwear stores, the LIDS Locker Room specialty fan retail chain, the Lids Clubhouse retail stores, and various internet businesses.

We reached out to Jeff Pearson, Senior Vice President, E-commerce & Marketing at Lids Sports Group, to learn more about the program.

Through the first full 12 months of the program, Pearson said there are five million members combined between Access Pass Premium and Access Pass Free.

Can you talk about the thought process behind Lids launching its premium loyalty program and the impact it has had on your customers and their subsequent behavior?

Interview about premium loyalty with Jeff Pearson from LIDS.

Pearson: Lids Access Pass Premium is a way for us to recognize and reward our most loyal customers. Through our loyalty program, we engage with newly devoted consumers who embody the qualities of today’s headwear culture and transform them into brand advocates, while simultaneously attracting the next generation of shoppers.

Our main goal in marketing and e-commerce is to foster a unified commerce experience by being more digital, social, loyal, and visual. The Access Pass Premium Program embodies all of these elements.


Why do you think the overall program has resonated so well?

Pearson: Lids Access Pass transitioned from a discount program to an app focused on creating customer loyalty, which exponentially increased the customer’s ability to interact with Lids. The convenience of using an app and having a seamless experience across our channels is key to keep Lids top of mind. In the Access Pass App, the loyalty member can create their preferences and easily track their rewards earned. Additionally, the loyalty member can quickly view up-to-date social-related posts.

The non-premium loyalty tier is a traditional points-based program. It allows us to introduce the Lids experience with a customer, who may be a first-time shopper or purchasing a gift. We value every opportunity to communicate with our customers on a personal level and provide customers with relevant content.


Can you talk about how the premium loyalty program works and what the benefits are?

Pearson: Lids Access Pass Premium is a $5 fee for a one-year membership. Customers can sign up, in-store, and online.

Benefits Include:

  • 20% off headwear and embroidery
  • 10% off apparel and novelties
  • Exclusive access to high profile sporting and entertainment experiences
  • Rewards points earned for every dollar spent. For every 1,000 points earned, a $10 reward is provided that can be used online or in stores.


Traditional points-based loyalty programs are still around, but often fail to forge true differentiation, whereas premium loyalty programs do, and are also on the rise. Can you talk about the overall appeal of a premium loyalty program in today’s marketplace?

Pearson: Premium loyalty programs make it easy for customers. Customers can rely on a consistent, unified commerce experience and the benefits of our premium loyalty program outweigh the initial cost of membership. I also believe once a customer selects the premium option, they are more engaged, but also have higher expectations. It’s then our responsibility to meet and exceed these expectations on a regular basis.


What have been your biggest takeaways from a customer insight perspective since Lids launched its premium loyalty program?

Pearson: Our biggest advantage is the ability to communicate with our customers on a personal level. A one-size-fits all communication strategy is no longer applicable in today’s world.

Our goal is to provide our customers with meaningful and relevant content based on their preferences and purchases. We work to tailor this content based upon the personal preferences selected by our loyalty members.

Our loyalty members represent more than 30% of top line sales, and we have more than doubled the size of the program from the prior year.

Hats off to Premium Loyalty

Thinking about loyalty from a customer-focused perspective rather than a brand-focused one is the key. As Pearson states, a seamless omnichannel experience is what customers expect. And Lids’ Access Pass Premium does just that.

With premium loyalty, Lids’ customers enjoy an easy, consistent experience and know they’re getting the best benefits every time they engage. That’s something customers can tip their hats to.


ebbo helps brands achieve their customer loyalty goals with full-service, end-to-end solutions and also creates original educational content straight from the experts to help loyalty marketers stay on the cutting edge of customer engagement.

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